Fly Fishing the OBX
My first time saltwater fly fishing was a humbling experience. I had been having a great year thus far, almost catching a fish every time out recently. That changed in a hurry at the beach.
Fighting the wind was a constant struggle. On the beach side, facing east, the wind whipped the line around making it hard to cast far and straight - which is necessary to get beyond the waves. On the sound side, facing west, you are casting straight into the wind which also made it hard to cast, so I had to wade out and cast back towards shore - not necessarily where I wanted to be casting.
Something else I struggled with (or at least felt like I was struggling with it) was retrieve speed and technique. Most of the time I was in the sound, I could see fish jumping around me, but for the life of me I couldn’t get a single hit no matter what I did, or what fly I used. I used a very fast retrieve with a gurgler and a clouser at Oregon Inlet, and that worked well one of four days. I had some Spanish Mackerel chasing my fly like crazy, and finally enticed one to strike, but he almost instantly broke the line. Exciting, but frustrating in the end.
Some of the places I had been told to fish were so busy that it was insane and not fun at all. Most of the places in the sound seemed totally dead as far as fish action was concerned. Fishing the ocean/inlet was challenging with waves/wind. The last day I fished was on a waterfront dock in Manteo, and that was when I caught a flounder and speckled trout. The trout hit a gurgler on my second cast of the morning, in the middle of some swarming minnows. The flounder took a white clouser I was bumping along the bottom. Both fish were exciting to catch and I was super thankful not to have been entirely skunked on this trip.
I had a lot of interesting comments when fishing around people:
"Oh, my husband and I were just up in the mountains last week fly fishing."
"In all the years I’ve lived here, you’re the first person I’ve ever seen fly fishing."
"We just love watching you cast, the way the line rolls out is beautiful. Is fly fishing hard to get into?"
"I’ve never thought of fly fishing here… maybe that’s something I can get back into. Last time I fly fished was in Oregon in the 60s."
I know there are a few people who fly fish there, who live there - but they are in short supply. Maybe now I know why. It was tough. But I had some success, and I learned a lot. Hopefully on my next trip there I’ll be able to put together an even better experience than I did this year.
I said before I left that I was going to do whatever it took to make a fly fishing video, and I did. It’s not super awesome because I was using my cell phone and point-and-shoot camera. That’s all I have now. But it’s a video nonetheless. It’ll be posted real soon…